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Beyond Metal: Exploring the World of Non-Metal Jewelry

Written by Anna Currell
May 23, 2023

While metal has been a popular jewelry material choice for ages, there is a whole world of non-metal jewelry waiting to be explored. From natural materials to synthetic materials, there are plenty of options for jewelry enthusiasts who want to add something unique and eye-catching to their collections. In this article, we’ll be exploring the world of non-metal jewelry and sharing advice about how to wear different materials.

Why Choose Non-Metal Jewelry?

There are several reasons why one might consider non-metal jewelry. Firstly, non-metal jewelry can offer a unique look that stands out from more traditional metal options. Experimenting with non-metal materials can add texture and dimension to your piece of jewelry, and jazz up any outfit with an unexpected touch. 

Beyond the aesthetic, one practical concern that leads people to non-metal jewelry options is the potential for metal allergies. Metals including brass, nickel, and copper can cause itching, redness, and other uncomfortable symptoms to those with specific sensitivities or allergies. If you suspect you have a metal allergy or sensitivity, get tested by an allergist or doctor. Then you can explore the world of non-metal jewelry to find pieces that not only look great but feel great to wear as well, without any allergic reactions! Lots of non-metal jewelry choices are often even more lightweight and comfortable to wear than their metallic counterparts.

Finally, non-metal jewelry can be an affordable option for those looking to expand their jewelry collection without breaking the bank. With a wide variety of materials and styles available, non-metal jewelry can offer endless opportunities for self-expression and creativity at a much lower price tag than fine metals.


A pearl necklace with visible knots in between each pearl.

Non-Metal Jewelry Alternative Materials

No matter why you’re shopping for non-metal jewelry, the sky’s the limit when it comes to your options. Cutting out metals still leaves a whole world of possibility. Let’s explore some popular alternative materials you’ll find in jewelry:

Natural Materials

Some of the most popular non-metal jewelry alternatives are natural materials. These can include things like wood, bone, horn, stone, and shells. Each material has its own unique textures, colors, and patterns, so natural resources can be used in everything from statement pieces to understated classics. Here are a few tips on how to wear natural materials:

  1. Keep it simple. Because natural materials can be so bold, it's important to let them shine on their own. Don't try to layer too many pieces or wear them with busy patterns.
  2. Mix and match. Natural materials can be mixed and matched to create a truly unique look. Try pairing a wooden necklace with a bone bracelet or a stone ring with a horn pendant.
  3. Consider the occasion. While natural materials can be worn for any occasion, some pieces may be more appropriate for casual settings than formal events. Make sure to check the dress code and honor the spirit of the event you’re attending.

Synthetic Materials

Another good non-metal jewelry option is the world of synthetic materials, including things like resin, plastic, and acrylic. While these materials may not have the same natural beauty as some of the other options on this list, they can be just as alluring in highly crafted and delicately honed jewelry. Here are some tips on how to wear synthetic materials:

  1. Don't be afraid to go bold. Synthetic materials can be very bright and colorful, making them great for statement pieces. Don't be afraid to choose pieces that really pop.
  2. Mix and match. Like natural materials, synthetic materials can be mixed and matched to create an interesting look. Try pairing a plastic bracelet with an acrylic necklace, for example.
  3. Choose quality. While synthetic materials may be less expensive than some of the other materials on this list, it's still important to choose pieces that are well-made and durable.


Other Non-Metal Materials

There are plenty of other non-metal materials that can be used for jewelry, including glass, fabric, leather, and even paper. Here are some general tips for non-metal materials that you can apply broadly:

  1. Be careful with delicate materials. Materials like paper and fabric can be delicate, so it's important to handle them with care. Try to avoid wearing them in environments where they’re likely to get snagged or pulled.
  2. Choose pieces that complement your style. As you can tell, non-metal jewelry materials can range greatly in style and appearance, so staying true to your personal style will help you narrow down the options and find something you love.
  3. Have fun with it. Non-metal materials can be a lot of fun to wear, so don't be afraid to experiment and try new things.

While metal has long been the most popular material for jewelry, there are plenty of non-metal options to explore — you just need to find the one that works best for you. Remember to choose pieces that complement your personal style and have fun experimenting. And if you have a piece of metal jewelry that you love but can’t or don’t want to wear anymore, we’ve got your back. Our team of expert jewelers can remove any gemstones and reset them in non-metal materials so you can keep wearing the jewelry you love.

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